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Old 05-21-2023, 03:52 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Teddington, Middlesex UK
Posts: 7
Default Very nervous hamster - advice please!

Hi all,

I've kept Syrian hamsters for over 20 years (one at a time of course) and each one had its own personality. The last one I had - Pingado - was very nervous to tame but after a month or so was so friendly that he came out every morning to enjoy breakfast nestled in my dressing gown!!

Move forward two years to my most recent family edition - a lovely long haired male Syrian - Mr Huffkin (don't ask about the name!). On arrival he explored his cage a bit and then disappeared into his wooden house. We didn't see him for 2-weeks, literally didn't see him. I did the usual thing of sitting chatting every day for an hour or so talking gently so he got used to my voice. Then one night I found him digging in his sand bath at midnight and we see him most evenings at midnight. However... he is terrified. He will take food from my hand and let me stroke him gently BUT the only time I tried to pick him up went badly, he nearly escaped although I caught him and did manage to hold him for a while (no biting at all).

I cannot seem to tame him and I don't know why - he seems terrified. I need to clean him out but have read that I should never lift his house out and so I cannot clean him unless its after midnight and I lift the top level of his cage off with him in it.

I have just read about ghost hamsters - is this what he is? I have had him for almost a month (bought on 22 of April) and he was 8 weeks old when bought, just out of quarantine and not that socialised.

Any advice gratefully received as I want him to be happy and equally I would like to have some form of relationship rather than just feeding a silent cage for the next 2.5 years (which obviously I will do if I have to).

Thank you
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Old 05-22-2023, 03:05 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3,190
Default Re: Very nervous hamster - advice please!

This is how I take my Syrians - I set up and playpen and sit in there with them. I go on my phone and completely ignore them - I donít try to pick them up or try handle them. Normally they will avoid climbing on your for the first few days or even week. Then they start to get braver and begin climbing into your lap. When they get really comfortable climbing into your lap I put my hand - palm upward in my lap and let them walk over. I avoid lifting my hand up or moving it until they get really comfortable climbing into my hand. Then begin lifting your hand up briefly then put them straight back down - gradually extend the amount of time in your hand the more confident they get. It takes a lot of repetition and it best where possible do it daily. And they get a treat when I put them back into their cage so it more of a reward. This is the taming method. And wash your hand with unscented soap beforehand. This method is really successful for me and has help even my most nervous Syrian become tame.

When taming my hamsters I often do have to wake them up as otherwise like you say they donít come out until very late. Try to pick a time around 8/9pm -feed them around this time, rustle the bedding near the house. Or I sometimes have to wake them up - which isnít ideal. But I find once they get familiar with a set time they normal begin waking up at this time everyday. But for cleaning you will need to wake him up as it for his health - usually once I start making noise in the cage my Syrian comes out to investigate then I put her in a carrier or playpen when cleaning to avoid stressing her out.
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Owning Hamsters since Nov 2007
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cage, lift, midnight, read, years

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